Historical information

These crucibles were raised from the wreck of the Loch Ard. It is one of six similar relics, in a range of sizes, now in the Flagstaff Hill collection. All were manufactured by the Morgan brothers who founded the Patent Plumbago Crucible Company in 1856, making crucibles in a small factory in Battersea London.
A crucible is a container used for purifying and melting metals so that they can be cast in a mold to a predetermined shape and use. They must withstand extremely high temperatures, abrupt cooling, and shed their contents with minimal adherence. The addition of graphite to the traditional firing clays greatly enhanced the durability of industrial crucibles this technique was pioneered by the Morgan Bros thereby making a significant technological advance in foundry technology and metallurgy.
The Morgans first noticed the advantages of graphite crucibles at the Great Exhibition held in London in 1851. Initially, they contracted to be sole selling agents for the American-made products of Joseph Dixon and Co. from New Jersey, but in 1856 they obtained that firm's manufacturing rights and began producing their graphite crucibles from the South London site.
The Morgans imported crystalline graphite in 4-5 cwt casks from the British colony of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and mixed it with conventional English (Stourbridge) clays to be fired in kilns. Their products were purchased by the Royal Mints in London and India and exported to official mints in France and Germany. They were successful exhibitors of their crucibles and furnaces at the London Exhibition held in 1861 (Class 1, Mining, quarrying, metallurgy and mineral products, Exhibit 265, Patent Plumbago Crucible Co).
The range of sizes represented by the six crucibles retrieved from the Loch Ard suggests they may have been part of a sample shipment intended for similar promotion in the Australian colonies or at Melbourne's International Exhibition to be held in 1880. A newspaper account of an 1864 tour of the Morgan brothers' 'Black Potteries' at Battersea indicates: "All the pots were numbered according to their contents, each number standing for one kilogram, or a little over two pounds; a No. 2 crucible contains two kilograms; a No. 3, three kilograms, and so on." These numbers are obscured by marine sediment on three of the crucibles in the Flagstaff Hill collection, but those legible on the remaining three are 5, 6, and 8. None of the six is of the same size.

(For more information on the Loch Ard wreck see note sec this document)


The shipwreck of the Loch Ard is of significance for Victoria and is registered on the Victorian Heritage Register ( S 417). Flagstaff Hill has a varied collection of artefacts from Loch Ard and its collection is significant for being one of the largest accumulation of artefacts from this notable Victorian shipwreck of which the subject items are a small part. The collections objects give us a snapshot of how we can interpret the story of this tragic event. The collection is also archaeologically significant as it represents aspects of Victoria's shipping history that allows us to interpret Victoria's social and historical themes of the time. Through is associated with the worst and best-known shipwreck in Victoria's history.

Physical description

Two nested crucible, or fluxing pots, for heating and pouring molten metal. These containers rises in a slight curve from a smaller flat base to a wider open top with a lip for pouring. They were recovered from the wreck of the Loch Ard.

Inscriptions & markings

On base "Morgans"